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US PROTESTERS have once more been met with a violent response as highly militarised police, encouraged by President Donald Trump, opened fire with tear gas and rubber bullets on crowds gathered for the eighth consecutive night.
Tens of thousands angered at US society’s deep-seated racism joined demonstrations in most major cities in a popular uprising triggered by the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police last week.
Mr Trump’s declaration of war against his own citizens on Monday with a threat to send in the country’s armed forces prompted warnings that his actions would further divide an already fractured society.
In an emotional speech at a 60,000-strong rally in Mr Floyd’s home town of Houston, his nephew urged the crowds: “Don’t stop until we get justice for my uncle.”
Roxie Washington, the mother of Mr Floyd’s six-year-old daughter Gianna, said at a Minneapolis City Hall press conference: “I’m here for my baby. I’m here for George, because I want justice for him, and I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good.”
The Pope spoke out yesterday, saying: “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism,” while insisting that “nothing is gained by vioence and so much is lost.”
The Coalition for Women in Journalism (CFWIJ) condemned the “brutal attacks” by police that media workers have been facing while covering the protests.
Scores of journalists have been targeted, including freelance photographer Linda Tirado, who reported that she had been permanently blinded in her left eye.
“I was aiming my next shot, put my camera down for a second, and then my face exploded. I immediately felt blood and was screaming, ‘I’m press! I’m press!” she said in an interview.
CFWIJ founder Kiran Nazish told the Star: “We have been getting an overwhelming amount of reports of journalists on the ground covering these protests being targeted, often brutally, by the police and security agencies.
“We are especially concerned over the role of state authorities in not letting journalists cover events that have shaken the United States under and despite an ongoing pandemic.
“Women reporters, in particular, have been targeted across several states, with rubber bullets, canisters, batons, despite revealing their press credentials to police officers.
“In a democratic country, this is absolutely unaffordable, and we urge the United States to correct this immediately. Let the press do its job.”
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